A Simulation-Based Approach for Evaluating Cost and Performance of a Sediment Removal and Processing System for the Lower Susquehanna River Dams

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Saqib Qureshi
Raymond Fontaine
Samuel Saleeb
Joel Stein


A series of three major dams and reservoirs located along the Lower Susquehanna River have historically acted as a system of sediment and nutrient pollution traps.  However, episodic pulses of these pollution loads are released following short-term extreme storm events, affecting subaquatic vegetation, benthic organisms, and the overall water quality in the Upper Chesapeake Bay.  In addition, all three reservoirs have reached a state of near maximum storage capacity termed as dynamic equilibrium.  Based on prior research, this study seeks to reduce the sediment buildup behind the dams through a sediment removal and processing operation, and thereby reduce the ecological impact of major storms.  A set of scour performance curves derived from a regression analysis, and a stochastic lifecycle cost model were used to evaluate the sediment scouring reduction and economic feasibility of three processing alternatives:  Plasma Vitrification, Cement-Lock, and Quarry/Landfill, and three removal amount cases:  Nominal, Moderate, and Maximum.  Since the scour performance curves treat the dams as static, a fluid system dynamics model was used to determine if the dynamic interaction between the capacitance of the dams during major scouring events is negligible or considerable.  A utility vs. cost analysis factoring in time, performance, and suitability of the alternatives indicates that a Cement-Lock processing plant at moderate dredging for the Safe Harbor and Conowingo Dams is the most cost-performance effective solution.

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How to Cite
Qureshi, S., Fontaine, R., Saleeb, S., & Stein, J. (2015). A Simulation-Based Approach for Evaluating Cost and Performance of a Sediment Removal and Processing System for the Lower Susquehanna River Dams. Industrial and Systems Engineering Review, 3(2), 107-116. https://doi.org/10.37266/ISER.2015v3i2.pp107-116


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